Amani ya Juu: Making a Difference for Women, and How to Help!

Two for the Road: Our Visit to Amani ya Juu in Nairobi

So in this week’s very touching episode we pay a visit to a place called Amani ya Juu in Nairobi. And we sincerely hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch it, so you can get a good idea of exactly what Amani is about, and get to know some of the courageous women there. It really is good stuff.

But there’s so much about Amani that we couldn’t include in the video, and so much more we could tell you. A lot of it you’ll find on the Amani website: www.amaniafrica.com, but here’s a little bit more information that we hope will stir your interest in the program and maybe, just maybe, compel you to get involved (details on that below). Check it out:

Spreading “Peace from Above”

This year Amani celebrates its 19th year in existence, during which time they’ve made a positive change in the lives of hundreds of women from across different parts of Africa and their families. But it’s most definitely not a huge “machine” of a program. In 2014 for example, six women graduated from the Amani program and eight new women joined the program. So the program is still relatively small, which allows it to retain an intimate, close-knit and loving family feel.

Two for the Road: Our Visit to Amani ya Juu in Nairobi

“My favorite part is hearing the testimonies of the ladies,” said Maggie, who works in the boutique store in Nairobi (and is the lovely woman hugging Nik at the end of the video). “I’m thinking I’m the one who has gone through so much pain. When I hear their testimonies it make me realize they’ve gone through much worse pain, like losing their loved ones. The woman is broken-hearted. But when she comes to see she’s loved, she’s so happy. Then we all join together as a family to praise the Lord.”

And to make the experience more personal for customers, each and every product made at Amani comes with a tag that bears the name of the woman who made it, and the country she comes from. Which serves as an excellent reminder of two important facts: not only are these products made skillfully by the hands of an actual person, but by buying that product you’re also helping that person – and the other women like her in the program – build a better life for herself and her families.

Two for the Road: Our Visit to Amani ya Juu in Nairobi

And all of the products that are made at Amani – the handbags, the home decor, jewelry,  clothing, etc. – are made from local African materials, including cow bone, sea glass beads, even porcupine quills! And they have dozens of band-batiked and screen printed fabrics. And it’s beautiful, high-quality stuff.

“Every time you buy a product it makes a difference in someone’s life,” said Maggie. “You give hope to each one of us, the ladies.”

Two for the Road: Our Visit to Amani ya Juu in Nairobi

So no, this is most definitely not stuff that’s produced by neglected women and children in a sweatshop somewhere in a windowless building in the slums of Kenya. Quite the opposite in fact. Amani is a member of the Fair Trade Federation, which ensures that each of the women in the program is paid a proper wage, which she can then use to support herself and/or her family. Some of the women have even graduated from the program and gone on to start businesses of their own! And we can attest – during our visit to Amani in Nairobi we saw nothing but support and positivity and love among the women there.

Get Involved!

So if you’re touched as we were by the Amani story and would like to get involved, you can actually do so from the comfort of your home, and in the company of your family and friends, by hosting an Amani box party! When you sign up, Amani will send you a box of their authentic, handmade African products that you can then sell to family, friends, co-workers, etc.  And what you don’t sell you can ship right back to Amani. It’s a fun, free and easy way to get everybody together, have a great time, buy some great stuff, and support a great program. Everybody wins. 🙂

Two for the Road: Our Visit to Amani ya Juu in Nairobi

And again, for more information – or to shop online – definitely check out the Amani website by clicking here. And if you just so happen to find yourself in Nairobi one day, we hope you’ll take a second to drop by and visit the ladies at the center. You’ll be glad you did! And do us a favor and tell them that Nik and Dusty send their love. 🙂

Cheers y’all! A new adventure begins soon!

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